Weight Loss
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While I have no problem eating reasonable meals, the snacking has been a huge challenge to me.  If Im bored, I tend to get the huge craving to snack.  I find I drink a lot of water to quelch the want to binge for boredom!

Was wondering what others do to curb this very bad habit?  Do you think it's possible to un-learn the habit?

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Actually changing a "habit" takes about 1-2 months, I have heard. And yes, you can change the habit of eating when you're bored.

So figure out why you're bored. What are you doing that's so boring? Can you do something else? Pick up a new hobby or two. Exercise. Call a friend. Whatever it takes. The absolute BEST thing to do when you're bored and feeling snacky? Get up off the couch or wherever and change your location. Drink a glass of water, brush your teeth, chew some gum, whatever it takes, just CHANGE something.

That being said, no matter how many little tricks you use, eventually you just have to grit your teeth and stop eating when you're not actually hungry.

OH, the snacking became a huge issue when I quit smoking and gained weight.  So, now I am on this program and doing well, but the snack issue is still a big one for me.  I find if I chew gum or suck on a Tootsie pop when I have a snack craving, it helps.  I also try to exercise for 10 minutes when I have the cravings and that seems to help me a bit. 

I hope more will share how they get around the cravings.............

 

The trick I found helped was to timetable my snacks. I ONLY allow a snack at the same time as my work Tea-breaks - and only if I have spare calories. It helpes that I know in advance what my evening meal is, so I can decide where to allow my calories to go for the remainder of the day.

It helps to keep the high-calorie food out of your home. If you go for a snack and have a bag of potato chips, 30 chips later you've snacked up as much as 450 cal. But if all you have is apples, that's 80 cal, it's more filling that the chips, and is actually good for you. As an extreme example, if my house had nothing but celery in it, I sure wouldn't find snacking an issue . . .

When that happens to me I usually come to the forums and read what's been going on.. it keeps me occupied while reminding me why I shouldn't be boredom eating.

I also try to look for the posts of people who have had "bad" food days so that I can think "I don't wanna end up feeling like that!"

Original Post by john_liu:

It helps to keep the high-calorie food out of your home. If you go for a snack and have a bag of potato chips, 30 chips later you've snacked up as much as 450 cal. But if all you have is apples, that's 80 cal, it's more filling that the chips, and is actually good for you. As an extreme example, if my house had nothing but celery in it, I sure wouldn't find snacking an issue . . .

Haha, this is an Ideal situation.  Actually in my home there's not much at all.  The worst of it is the Almond Breeze but other than that.  You're underestimating my Habits strong-hold because if I'm able, I actually find the food out.  I may have to walk, and drive to get it, but at times its so overwhelming that I just HAVE to snack!

I think some other posters have the key.  Might be better to take control of the snacking than inhibit it. 


It's a habit like any other, and the only way to break it is by replacing it with another habit (meaning not snacking).  Couple of things to try.

I tried drinking water, but switched to drinking tea.  It's a bit more time consuming and has some flavor to it.  Plus it's healthy anyway.

Also, this may sound a bit crazy but when you find yourself snacking say "no".  Out loud.  Remind yourself of your commitment to a healthy lifestyle or whatever, outloud.  Hearing it and thinking it reinforces the idea better.

I will admit - I haven't had too much struggle with snack cravings, nut this:

I crochet, or read a book. Something that  will keep my hands, and my mind occupied.

I started drinking diet soda to put some kind of "flavor" in my mouth. I'm just now starting to cut down on that.

Also, maybe your body does need some level of energy at different times than just meal times. If this is the case, take a look at your foods, and make a list of "good" snacks. Cucumber slices, fruit cups, celery & peanut butter, strawberries, a bowl of cereal.

Look at the numbers for some of your favorite snacks, and see if there is a healthier substitute that is ok. Cucumber slices is one of my favorites, because I don't think I can eat enough of them to actually mess up my day. Add a premeasured dish of ranch dressing, perfect!

This is one big thing I'm trying to overcome as well. I've found that if I'm really counting calories, I won't snack as much since I know I have to count it. My biggest problem was when I took a break from counting last year, I did well for a while but after some time, I was back to snacking. It's the worst when I'm home alone and just watching tv. My attempts at fixing the snacking problem:

- find something to do, even if it's just messing around on the computer while I watch tv, it keeps me from snacking.

- counting all of my calories helps a lot

- popcorn! I make it from kernels in a paper bag in the microwave so I don't get all the salt of microwave popcorn (and it's way cheaper that way). It's fun to season it different ways and you get a lot of popcorn for not a lot of calories (and they're a whole grain).

You have already gotten some great advice here. I agree with them and use some of the tactics myself. I closely count/log/budget my calories which lets me save the calories to allow for legal snacking. I choose healthy snacks. Fresh fruit or else a bowl of cereal with unsweetened almond milk, or non fat greek yogurt are my favorites. A very wise weight loss buddy of mine turned me on to distracting myself with excersicing when wanting to snack. My fav is to do a workout/ play on my wii fit plus and then sit down exhausted and eat a sugarfree popsicle. It works for me.

Original Post by frogstroganoff:

  You're underestimating my Habits strong-hold because if I'm able, I actually find the food out.  I may have to walk, and drive to get it, but at times its so overwhelming that I just HAVE to snack!

When I really want a snack that may not be good for me, I force myself to work for it.  I intentionally don't keep that kind of food in the house.  When I do want an unhealthy snack, I walk or bike to the store and back to get it.

I try to make sure that the store I choose is far enough away that the calories spent traveling are as much as the snack itself.  That way I don't have to feel overly guilty about it either.  If I don't want the junk food enough to walk/bike to get it, I must not want it that much.

#12  
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Boredom eating is a biggie for me too. I try to eat 6 small meals, spaced 3 hrs. apart. This way I'm "always eating" and can't possibly get too hungry. I NEVER keep junky binge-worthy stuff in the house either.  

j_wystup - tell me more about popcorn from kernels in a paper bag. You know, how much popcorn to put in a bag. Do you add any oil at all (I'm guessing no!). I've been eating the 100 cal bags but there is plenty of salt and of course oil. What are some of your favorite seasonings?

I'm a terrible boredom eater too but there are a few things I do.

1) I'll chew my favourite flavour of sugar free gum.

2) If that doesn't work, I'll have a cup of herbal tea.

3) If my tummy is actually rumbling, I'll have a small apple (like another poster said they are filling and good for you)

4) I use delayed gratification. I didn't even know I was doing this until I told a psychologist friend and she highlighted it. Basically, if I'm really craving something and I can't get it out of my head, I'll tell myself out loud, "if I still want it tomorrow, I'll have it" and normally by the time tomorrow comes, I don't really want it.

5) I know this is a bit weird, but I also moisturise my feet and elbows when I want something bad, I find that just having something to do with my hands distracts me enough to forget about snacking and as a bonus my feet and elbows are soft.

Well those are my ways of dealing with snacking, hope it helps.

I have been keeping myself very busy.

1. I work in my flower garden or pull weeds.

2. I have many craft and sewing projects to work on.

3. I drink my water or hot tea.

4. I pop open a can of veggies or eat a small salad. 

5. I have a picture of myself on the front of the fridge. At one time in my life I was thin and so this is just a reminder what could be.

6. I brush my teeth and then cut myself from eating anything. No eating at bedtime!!! 

quality baby carrots give me the crunch and flavor I seek for snacking or cucumber slices with a drizzle of seasoned rice vinegar or popcorn. I keep all unhealthy snack foods out of the house.

Gum, I chew lots and lots of sugar free gum

#18  
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I have trouble with snacking as well.  I like to snack as procrastination at work.  The best solution for me has been twofold: 1) I plan my snacks in advance, either in the morning, or the day before.  I put my snacks in a baggie, and know that's it for the day; 2) I set up a time for eating them.  My mid-morning snack is between 11am and 11:30am and my afternoon snack is between 3:00 and 3:30.

Lastly, I chew gum.  I go through a lot of gum during the day, but it helps.  If I just can't stand to put another piece of gum in my mouth, I reach for a mint, but those have calories too, so they are a last resort sort of deal.

How about changing your eating plan... personally, I can't stand the word 'snack'.  It sounds childish.  I eat 5-6 even sized meals a day... I'm always full yet always looking forward to my next meal.  No snacking.   Each of those meals has something to satisfy my sweet tooth (yogurt, dark chocolate, fudge-pop, etc).  Stop snacking and eat evenly.  

Original Post by dancinv:

j_wystup - tell me more about popcorn from kernels in a paper bag. You know, how much popcorn to put in a bag. Do you add any oil at all (I'm guessing no!). I've been eating the 100 cal bags but there is plenty of salt and of course oil. What are some of your favorite seasonings?

It's funny you ask, I discovered it while searching these forums trying to find out about buying a popper...

It's tough to get the popcorn in a bag just right. I use a brown paper lunch bag and enough kernels to not-quite cover the bottom of the bag. You can add oil with seasonings before popping (oil helps seasonings stick) if you want to - I do sometimes. Fold over the top of the bag and lay it on its side in the microwave (if using oil you might want to put it on a paper towel). Then microwave as usual (waiting for the pops to have the 2-5 second space between them). It's usually around 1:30 for me. This is probably a lot of trial and error, I wind up with burnt kernels sometimes but I know a lot of those times it's because the bag gets stuck and stops rotating in my tiny microwave.

After popping you can add more seasonings or just eat it. I like the shakers you can get at the store near the popcorn (ranch, cheesy, etc). Parmesan cheese is good too. A new favorite is a tiny bit of salt and spray butter (like regular microwave popcorn but I'm sure it's much less of the toppings!). For something a little different, taco seasoning is yummy. It's fun to just make popcorn and then look around the kitchen to see what you can find to put on it :)

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